For me, creating music is a puzzle...a spiritual experience, and it provides ventilation for my obsessive nature. Most musicians share common threads within their creative processes, but everyone is unique when you get into the overall experience of writing music. I've studied music composition formally, but I'm far from an expert on formal songwriting. I'm just here to share my unique process so that fans can get a glimpse into my crazy brain.
I feel like my best work comes to me at 3:00am. There's a certain consciousness that is unique between 3:00am and 5:00am. Photographers call the hour before sunset and sunrise as the golden hours. These are mine. I'm conscious but also outside of myself at that time and for whatever reason, that leaves me open to musical suggestions. Songs like Teddy and Better Man come to me deep within a dream state and then I find myself awake with a clear musical motive that is as invasive as morning wood--it insists on making itself known and it won't just go away. In fact, allowing hours to pass until the notes go away often leaves me with a feeling of guilt. For ME, it's like being given a gift and turning it away. So, when the music calls, I simply obey. What does obey mean? It means I leave my cozy bed with my wife snuggled underneath me and walk into a cold dark basement in order to figure out what all this noise in my head wants from me. It's honestly like having a budding tree inside your head; it's fresh and delicate. Too much of anything can make it die. You have to allow yourself to be in a quiet place of meditation and learn to just shut the fuck up and listen. No ego. Let "God" play you.
And so, I'll make sure the basic motive is clear in my conscious mind and then move into obsession mode. This means that for the next week I'll be consumed with the melody that I'm working on! It's like the obsession that most people have with their iPhones and social media. It's like stalking melody. I get irritated when I'm pulled away from my melody and chord structures. I ignore my children when melodies call. It's awful and beautiful. I obsess over the words, and the melody, and the arrangement, and the chords, and I live in fear that I'm making incorrect artistic decisions. But eventually the song makes itself known like a mostly finished jigsaw puzzle or like Wheel Of Fortune. And then, I can begin to rest for a bit. But THEN, I have to learn to actually play the song....
I'm no prodigal son. I have to work hard for every note even though people think I'm gifted. Stevie Wonder is gifted...I'm a mule. So, for the next week, AFTER the song is written, I slowly get all the notes under my fingers and then, magically, my song child is alive and ready for you to enjoy.
This isn't how it always happens exactly, but for the most part this is how I give birth to music. Again, I'm no master. I know that I'm somewhat of a hack, but this donkey makes the most of his "horsepower" and entertains a few people in the process. If you're a musician, a songwriter, or a fan, tell me your thoughts. I'm interested.